Personality test? Tests abound on the internet: which manga character are you? Which TV Series Hero Are You? … And it seems that the workplace is not so different. According to a study by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), 32% of HR professionals use personality tests to vet executive roles.

There are many goals with these tests: to evaluate potential, personality, and soft skills of candidates, their compatibility with the corporate culture, the position in question, etc. They are so widely used because recruitment mistakes are very expensive. According to a Gallup study, the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times that employee’s annual salary – and they say that’s a conservative estimate. Plus, for 89% of failed recruitments, there are notable discrepancies between the candidate’s behaviour, the position, the team and the company culture (source: AssessFirst).


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Personality test: definition

What is a personality test?

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, “Personality tests are designed to systematically elicit information about a person’s motivations, preferences, interests, emotional make-up, and style of interacting with people and situations.”

In other words, a personality test aims to assess relational behaviours, affective aspects, soft skills and to define the prominent character traits of an individual.

The first personality tests were used during World War I by the American army, first to deliberate on where to assign soldiers, then to determine who suffered post-traumatic stress.

The rise of new technologies has made it possible to democratise online personality tests. The democratisation of the Internet has contributed to increasing the accessibility and interest in these personality tests intended for both the general public and professionals in specific contexts linked to recruitment (pre-selection, selection, internal mobility, development and evolution of skills and careers…).


A little history on personality tests

  • The Binet-Simon test (1905) was created by Alfred Binet and Théodore Simon. It was the first scale for measuring intelligence. Intended for children, it consists of a series of tests of increasing difficulty requiring judgment, understanding and reasoning skills. The test was created in response to a request by the Ministry of Public Instruction to be able to “screen for intellectual insufficiency” in students.
  • The Rorschach test (1921): named after Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach. This projective test was inspired by the free association method of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung. It is based on the interpretation of drawings formed by ink stains randomly placed on a sheet of paper. The subject describes in their own words what the drawing evokes for them. Then, the psychologist analyses the patient’s speech using a specific protocol to assess their psyche.
  • The Thematic Apperception Test, also called TAT (1935): created by psychologist Alexander Murray, this personality test is based on the analysis of reactions or scenarios imagined by the individual when observing image boards.
  • The MMPI, Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (1949) is made up of questionnaires aimed at revealing the character and affective tendencies of the person tested.


Who are these made for?

To get to know each other, to laugh, to have fun: new personality tests are popping up every day on the internet. Increasingly used in the field of recruitment, personality tests help human resources professionals to identify the “true nature” of Talent: their emotional, relational and behavioural skills and their potential in a specific business. Because soft skills help improve business performance, it is essential to know and test a candidate’s personality traits.

In fact, 32% of recruiters used a personality test when recruiting executives (source: SHRM). And for good reason: in 89% of failed recruitments, the fault lies with the discrepancy between the behaviour of the candidates, the position, the team and/or the culture of the company (source: AssessFirst). Getting to know your talent’s personality and behaviours is therefore a way to avoid recruitment errors and gradual disengagement within your teams.

These personality tests can, for example, serve as support in identifying the candidates who best match the job offer as well as the corporate culture at the time of sourcing and pre-selection, or can be used as the deciding factor between two profiles with equivalent technical skills and degrees or certifications. The analysis of their results thus allows the optimisation of these phases which require time and investment from human resources professionals.

Assessfirst’s Shape personality test allows companies to identify the best candidates for the position in question, based on their real potential. The goal: hold fewer, more qualitative interviews.


Why use personality tests in the workplace?

What’s their purpose?

Since the beginning of the pandemic and the waves of the Great Resignation, recruiters have been looking to optimise recruitment processes, attract and retain talent, while keeping them engaged. Using a personality test reduces the risk of turnover and resignation by selecting the candidate who best matches your values, your corporate culture and your general mode of operation. With the constant changes in the job market, it is essential to identify and analyse each candidate’s personality, motivations and professional behaviours. There are standardised measurement tools that provide an objective and scientific view to facilitate decision-making and reduce recruitment errors as much as possible, and therefore turnover. In addition, personality tests assess each individual’s potential and behavioural skills. Looking beyond their CV, technical skills and diplomas, and instead valuing their unique humanity allows you to develop your employer brand and position yourself on the job market. In a context of talent shortages where supply exceeds demand in many sectors, taking a genuine interest in who your current and potential employees really are makes it possible to attract new profiles.


During a personality test, the questions lead the candidate to project themselves into situations where their reactions will be analysed to reveal the main traits of their personality. The individual’s personality is therefore categorised according to a profile or an inventory of characteristics. Thus, the assessment of the test illustrates their personality, attitude towards hierarchy, relationships with others, way of behaving within a team, preferred ways of communicating, of respecting the rules or not, their ability to persevere, to take initiative, their reliability, sociability, capacities of adaptation and integration… Therefore, a personality test makes it possible to truly identify each candidate’s real potential.


Personality test, a crucial tool for HR professionals

The personality test has become one of the key tools for HR. Their results highlight the behavioural tendencies and personality traits of talent. The labor market is constantly changing. The skills required of talent evolve as much as the professional environment. Using a personality test is a way to guarantee the integration and adaptation of newcomers to your corporate culture, values, mode of operation and teams. To be reliable, personality tests must measure the person’s prominent personality traits according to the specific professional environment and the position in question.

In the professional world, online personality tests are talent assessment tools that are part of a “data-driven” recruitment process. The level of objectivity obtained is far superior to a process not based on any factual data, but rather on emotions or intuitions. Using a personality test in recruitment allows your company to be as objective as possible, giving all candidates the same test and analysing the results methodically. Thus, sourcing or deciding between two candidates is possible thanks to the analysis of their results obtained during the test. Choosing the right person is essential for not only optimising costs and productivity for one specific role, but also throughout a team and organisational level, and to do that you need to look beyond CVs. Allowing Talent professionals to recruit based on behavioural skills that are sustainable over time and guarantee adaptation to the inevitable changes to come. Unlike technical skills/hard skills, which deal in planned obsolescence, soft skills reflect a person’s means of operating and their intrinsic qualities.


“Data driven recruiting” is a recruitment approach that relies on the digitisation, collection and analysis of data in order to optimise the entire recruitment process. Personality test data offers companies a relevant analysis of their talent pool, better organisation for interviews and help in identifying the ideal candidate. Additionally, cognitive biases present at the time of recruitment interviews are therefore reduced with the use of psychometric tests.


Professional contexts for using personality tests

The personality test is a complementary tool, an indicator that guides HR professionals throughout the recruitment process, internal mobility or talent development, for example. As a result, personality tests make it possible to source candidates and then proceed with an initial filtering, taking into account their soft skills (such as leadership, creativity, empathy, organisational sense, ability to adapt, empathy, etc.), but also their motivations and their cognitive abilities. These are valuable tools for standardising your recruitment process.

Indeed, the results of a personality test shed light on the types of behaviours that a candidate is likely to exhibit once integrated into the team and company. In particular, they offer additional help in deciding between two candidates with similar experiences and equivalent technical skills during the selection phase. Additionally, these results make it possible to assess their ability to adapt to the position, as well as to integrate into the team and the corporate culture. Because soft skills are some of the best indicators for the ability to adapt along with a candidate’s motivations, using personality tests optimises the candidate pre-selection and selection phase.

Once the talent is secured for your company, a personality test allows you to get to know them, to understand their way of operating, their values, objectives and what motivates them professionally. The personality test is therefore a tool that can optimise the onboarding of a new recruit and facilitate their integration with their manager and team. By feeling taken into consideration, particularly regarding their motivations and values, the new recruit feels valued and their level of commitment increases as the missions entrusted to them match their aspirations. Thus, the personality test reduces the risk of turnover within teams and promotes the development of employee commitment, motivation and loyalty.

Finally, the personality test can be used to support employees and develop their skills. Whether in the case of coaching, internal mobility or career development: the personality test is a tool for identifying your talent’s strengths, what motivates them, their cognitive abilities, as well as as their points to improve. Thanks to the data collected, managers and HR professionals will be able to identify the hard skills and soft skills that the talent has acquired and which allow them to evolve or benefit from internal mobility. Finally, personality tests helps to improve collaboration and teamwork.


AssessFirst’s Shape personality test

Presenting Shape

Human resources professionals are gradually turning away from mass market solutions and tools, in favor of tailor-made and personalised solutions and tests. Advances in neuroscience and data analysis tools offer reliable solutions such as the AssessFirst personality test. The Shape personality test generates tailor-made algorithms to better recruit, effectively support talent development or compose high-performance teams, all while promoting the potential and diversity of profiles. More than 3,500 companies from over 40 different countries use AssessFirst.

Our Shape model was developed according to the guidelines of Gordon (1951) as well as other major studies such as those of Pytlik, Zillig, Hemenover and Dienstbier (2002). These studies have, among other things, covered the emotional, behavioural and cognitive aspects of the Big Five traits. The AssessFirst Shape test allows you to see beyond the CV by qualifying candidate profiles according to more than 40 criteria (personality, motivations, cognitive abilities, collective efficiency…). Predictive algorithms and artificial intelligence combine 20 personality traits integrated into the Shape data collection module.

Your company has the possibility of integrating its internal reference frameworks, that is to say the essential values and skills as defined internally, straight into the heart of AssessFirst. Finally, in addition to addressing candidates, the Shape solution allows internal employees to complete their profiles, in order to obtain immediate and automated feedback on their personal strengths and talents.


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Advantages for talent

  • Individuals can learn to better understand their natural talents, skills and what makes them unique. By completing their profile on AssessFirst, the employee or candidate then accesses a complete report (aspects of their personality, motivations, cognitive abilities, etc.). With all of the personalised resources available to them, the goal is to help them to become the best version of themselves. Like Netflix, the Shape personality test suggests and targets content adapted to the user’s profile.

⇒ 87% of employees say they know themselves better after using it.


  • An optimal user experience where candidates and collaborators are placed at the heart of the project. The Shape personality test values people above all else. It is adapted to current trends in our society and, like an e-commerce site such as Amazon, content is suggested according to user preferences. Users benefit from personalised advice thanks in particular to their tutors, formats adapted to their learning methods (videos, articles, podcast), gamification during assessments, automated feedback and the possibility of sharing the results of their test of social media personality.

⇒ 97% candidate satisfaction, out of more than 5 million.


  • Having fun and performing well, working with teams that share the same values. AssessFirst’s predictive algorithms allow you to identify natural affinities between talent at two levels. First, at the social level, the ease of interacting and spending time together is analysed, then at the professional level, AssessFirst anticipates the ability to cooperate and collaborate on joint projects.

⇒ 30% more efficient employees, up to speed 2 times faster, with a reliability rate of 89%.


Advantages for companies using the tests

  • Recruit and manage talent more effectively by relying on the analysis of their potential, thanks to the predictive solution Shape based on Artificial Intelligence. Thanks to AssessFirst’s personality test, which processes 200+ applications in 1 second, recruiters save time in the pre-selection process. They thus avoid many useless interviews to focus on the most relevant applications. Because by selecting your talents on the basis of potential, soft skills and their fit with the corporate culture, you recruit faster, and once in place, they stay longer. So you increase the chances of reducing recruitment errors.
  • Optimise the onboarding process of your new recruits. With a personality test, you get to know your new employees, and anticipate their level of integration thanks to the ultra-powerful affinity algorithms developed by AssessFirst. Then you can, for example, evaluate the personal affinities between the talent or with their future manager. Finally, you reduce the risk of turnover within your teams. Because, by identifying the most motivating paths in accordance with their expectations and abilities, you promote their professional development and also develop their commitment.
  • Manage internal mobility with the Shape personality test by building succession plans or by building high-performing and productive teams. Identify the career development potential of your talent based on their abilities, strengths and motivations. Indeed, you can identify their potential evolutions by taking into account the results of the test which indicate the ease with which they will be able to move from one position to another. This personality test makes it possible to detect and reveal the potential of your employees internally. Once their profiles are completed, you get a complete account of each of their talents and potential. To get relevant suggestions, you can also define the scope of open jobs internally.
  • Access to reliable, neutral information, devoid of potentially discriminatory biases (age, gender, race, disability, origin, etc.). Thanks to the algorithms with this personality test that eliminate factors that can lead to discriminating against certain populations (such as women, seniors or minorities), the selection of profiles only takes into account relevant, neutral and objective criteria for greater equality and of diversity.


What to remember with the AssessFirst personality test

  • Check the compatibility of the candidate’s profile with the position, the team and your company culture, by drawing up a complete portrait based on reliable and objective data from our personality test (know-how, interpersonal skills, strengths, points to improve…). In this way, you promote diversity through potential.
  • Optimise your selection, recruitment, internal mobility and talent management processes, by analysing their soft skills, professional efficiency and potential.
  • Reduce your turnover rate by 50%, and accomplish significant savings.
  • Prepare the onboarding process for each new recruit, integrating their personality traits and motivations from the beginning of their journey with you.
  • Use relevant criteria, devoid of discriminatory biases, within your HR processes (recruitment and talent management) to improve user engagement and performance.
  • Offer an optimal and intuitive candidate experience, deemed “exceptional” by 97% of personality test users.


For more information on the Shape personality test and to book a demo, visit our dedicated pages below.